Thousands of firefighters and control room staff will vote over whether to strike
After a summer rife with industrial action, Britons face even more uncertainty after it was announced tens of thousands of firefighters and control room staff will be balloted on whether to strike over pay.
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said 32,500 of its members across the UK will vote in the next few weeks on whether to launch a campaign of industrial action.
The union said the move follows a 2 per cent pay offer made in June, which has not been increased despite the the rising rate of inflation.
The pay offer represents a ‘significant real-terms pay cut’, said the FBU. The ballot is expected to be held in five weeks’ time.
A firefighters’ strike would likely add to an autumn of discontent for incoming Prime Minister Liz Truss, with other strikes proposed by nurses and barristers’ unions.
The announcement was made just hours before the new PM takes office, and follows a wave of industrial action this summer by tens of thousands of workers.
The FBU said 32,500 of its members across the UK will vote in the next few weeks on whether to launch a campaign of industrial action (Pictured: Members of the Fire Brigades trade union join the National TUC Cost of Living demonstration in June)
FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: ‘Taking strike action is always a last resort but our employers are increasingly leaving us with no choice.
‘There is huge anger among firefighters at falling pay.
‘Firefighters must be paid fairly – there is absolutely no question when it comes to this.
‘It is the responsibility of fire service employers to provide decent pay offers and that has not happened.
‘The ball is now in the fire service employers’ court. It is not too late for them to make a much better pay offer for consideration by our members.’
Firefighters went on strike over pensions almost a decade ago and there was a lengthy strike over pay almost 20 years ago.
The union said the move follows a 2 per cent pay offer made in June, which has not been increased despite the soaring rate of inflation. The pay offer represents a ‘significant real-terms pay cut’, said the FBU
A firefighters’ strike would likely add to an autumn of discontent for incoming Prime Minister Liz Truss, with other strikes proposed by nurses and criminal barristers’ unions.
New PM Liz Truss found out yesterday that she had just ten days to stop devastating NHS nursing strikes over low pay – while the Criminal Bar Association (CBA) also confirmed it would stage a continuous strike after alternate walkouts over the summer
The Royal College of Nursing wants its 300,000-plus members to back the drastic action when they are balloted next week – the first time in the union’s 106-year history that it will push for a nationwide walk-out.
Meanwhile, the CBA is demanding a 25 per cent pay rise in legal aid fees to curb an exodus of young barristers – but the Government has so far refused to negotiate on its 15 per cent offer.
It follows a summer of industrial action, with rail walkouts in July and August by National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT), Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA), ASLEF and Transport for London (TfL) causing widespread disruption to commuters.
Post Office workers affiliated with the Communication Workers Union (CWU) took industrial action on August 26, 27 and 30. BT and Openreach workers also striked in a dispute over pay, adding to the swathes of industrial action this summer by hundreds of thousands of union members.